become a geologist

What does a Geologist do?

A geologist tries to understand the Earth and many specialize in various areas of geology. They may spend time in the field collecting samples of the Earth and creating geological maps of the area they are assessing. They might also work in a lab, analyzing samples collected and using specialized geographic software to study the Earth.

Watch a Video to see what a Geologist does:

How to Become a Geologist

To become a geologist you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in geology or geoscience. During this time, you might also do field study work as part of your degree program so you can gain on-the-job experience. Many companies prefer a master’s degree or a blend of experience and education. If you were to continue onto your master’s degree, this would be your opportunity to focus on a specialized area of geology that interests you. You might take an internship at this point as well. For instance, the U.S. Geologic Survey has a graduate program for students to apply for.

Job Description of a Geologist

Since there are a variety of industries a geologist can work in, from engineering, mining, teaching, and research for government agencies to discover risks and hazards, the tasks a geologist performs on a daily basis often depends on the industry they work in. However, all geologists are there to learn about the Geology of the Earth. The purpose of that research just varies by industry.

Some geologists for example may work much of the time in the field, collecting rock samples to analyze an area’s value for mining or oil and gas companies. They may also collect samples for government or university research. They can also spend a majority of time working in a laboratory analyzing sample details such as their strength and microscopic details. Geologist may also work on the computer, in the field or in an office, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and even 3-D modeling software. This enables them to analyze an area in greater detail and provide a depth of information in reports that are shared with others.

There are several benefits of becoming a Geologist, and at the top of the list is helping avert the dangers of natural catastrophes! They help in all areas, like predicting earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other disasters. They also have a variety of environments that they work in; working outdoors or in an office worldwide. They can work in several industries, including NASA and the number of jobs for Geologists are growing, which means more job opportunities. Geologists also earn competitive salaries and receive excellent benefit packages for health, vision, and dental insurance. They also receive paid sick leave, vacation days, and retirement options, such as 401(k).

Geologist Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Serves as a senior geologist, performing advanced, novel, and the most complex assignments, which require seasoned scientific knowledge of geologic principles and practices.
  • The position’s activities include a wide variety of engineering geology and hydrogeology functions of the Section in support of the Los Angeles District Civil, Military and Support for Others (SFO) programs.
  • The geographical area of responsibility is within parts of a four state region which is characterized by great diversity in climate, geography, geology and possible HTW materials with varying foundation conditions and terrain.
  • Includes a wide variety of civil works projects such as water conveyance structures and dams and a limited number of large military and SFO projects.
  • Large and diversified projects may require utilization of subordinate participating employees.

This position was posted to run 4/13/2023 with a salary range of $$95,905 – $124,677 per year per year on (link opens in a new tab). is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

Tsinghua University offers a free Geology and Engineering Geology course on (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • How the development of human civilization and geology are inextricable linked.
  • How to protect the Earth, and also effectively utilize natural resources.
  • The formation and evolution of the Earth.
  • An understanding of Geology Engineering, including natures of groundwater.
  • Basic knowledge of the earth’s geology.
  • Geological field investigation methods and techniques.

Victoria University offers a free course on titled Antarctica: From Geology to Human History (link opens in a new tab) with the option to pay a small fee receive a verified certificate upon completion of the course.

By taking this course, you’ll learn:

  • Knowledge of the chronology of Antarctic geology and human activities.
  • The locations and significance of key geographic features of Ross Island and the Antarctic continent.
  • How research is undertaken in Antarctica, both today and at key points in history.
  • The role of Antarctic paleoclimate research in understanding present and future climate change including the impact on the Antarctic ice sheet volume and global sea levels.

Educator Resources

The Geological Society has free poster factsheets that you can download and print for your classroom along with geologic activity sheets and presentations (links open in a new tab). The U.S. Geological Survey also provides resources for K-College teachers.

Article Citations

Salary information is located on and growth rate information was located on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

The Geological Society, Geology Career Pathways, What do Geologists do.

Videos: The career interview video is in the public domain from CareerOneStop

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